ROCCELLA JONICA, Italy (AP) – The Italian Coast Guard on Sunday brought more than 550 migrants to safety ashore, many of them young men or boys arriving from Egypt, from the waters. There are storms off the southern part of mainland Italy, as a human traffickers increasingly use a new route.
A rescue began Saturday night and ended early Sunday when 303 migrants, soaked and shivering, arrived at the port of Roccella Jonica in the Calabria region.
The following Sunday, after an Italian customs police boat spotted another fishing boat in trouble off Calabria, coastguards brought 250 migrants to the same port, Associated Press journalists in Roccella Jonica reported.
While most migrants trying to reach Italy in the central Mediterranean depart from Libya or Tunisia, authorities say a growing number of traffickers’ boats are sailing the route starting from Turkey. States and ends at the southernmost tip of the Italian peninsula.
Those rescued from traffickers’ worthless slings and wooden boats departing from North Africa are often taken to Lampedusa, a small Italian island, or to ports in Sicily. Trips from Turkey are often taken to Calabria or Puglia at the “heel” of mainland Italy.
The charity Resqship posted on Twitter Sunday that after alerting authorities to an overcrowded wooden boat with 100 migrants south of Lampedusa, the Italian coast guard evacuated them to safety. .
At Roccella Jonica, Red Cross volunteers early Sunday morning handed out plastic clogs, blankets, food and protective masks to migrants as part of COVID-19 prevention measures. Authorities recently set up a tent structure for temporary accommodation but it only accommodates up to 120 people, so some migrants have been moved to other shelters.
As of November 12, 57,833 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea this year.
In 2020, more than 31,000 people came. In 2019, when anti-migration leader Matteo Salvini used his post as Interior Minister to try to stop charity ships from releasing the people they saved at sea, just under 10,000 arrived.
D’Emilio reports from Rome. AP photographer Alessandra Tarantino features Roccella Jonica.
Follow all AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration.
https://www.yourbasin.com/news/italian-coast-guard-rescues-550-migrants-from-stormy-seas/ | Italian coast guard rescues 550 migrants from stormy sea